Each student gently laid a napkin in his or her lap being sure to keep their elbows off the table. They knew which fork was the salad fork and how to pass the salt and pepper.
Each special guest at the formal dinner was a member of the Clements/Parsons Elementary School Ladies and Gentlemen’s Club.
The club was started by first-grade teacher Christy Head who felt the acts of kindness and civility were being dismissed by the students.
“I felt they needed to see, hear, and feel its importance. Many parents try to teach manners, but the kids may not feel it is really that important. They may feel it is just their boring parents saying all that just to bother them,” Head said. “I was worried they wouldn’t see the impact healthy manners can have because I was just another adult telling them how to act.”
The club included life skills such as how to carry a conversation, hand shaking, standing up for others appropriately, giving and receiving gifts with grace, conflict resolution, table etiquette and more.
“I think that Mrs. Head did a great job at teaching us life skills and manners, and that she should do it again next year so others children can learn these skills too,” fifth-grader Zya Derrick said. “I learned how to communicate with others kids I have not met before. So, if other kids join ladies and gentlemen’s club, they can learn how to communicate with others too if they are also having that problem.”
Club members participated in many PTO events assisting with setup, greeting guests, and using their communication skills.
“One of my favorite parts was that I got to help the PTO with the things it provided for students and parents,” Randon Nield said. “I got to help set up stuff and participate in activities. The club helped me by getting along better with my two brothers and my parents.”
Head said she witnessed shy and insecure students become more confident and outgoing utilizing their new skills.
“I learned so much from it,” Nathaniel Quiles said. “My favorite part is when we get to help out with the school events and I really enjoyed the dinner. It helps me by teaching my family how to do these manners.”
Fifth-grader Gabbi Carlisle things every school should teach manners to students.
“Everyone learns manners. It helped me learn eye contact and helps us with respect,” Carlisle said. ”It will help me in the future.”